Is LinkedIn On Point?

LinkedIn just released “5 Tips to Jumpstart your Career in 2008.” Naturally interested, I took a look, and was relatively pleased with what I saw in the headings, but a bit disappointed to see that it was mostly flouting its own services. In any case, with the New Year rolling around, it’s a great time to start thinking about how we brand ourselves online. As times change, our online presence is becoming all the more important. I see my college friends, who are now teachers, still posting their drunken party pictures on Facebook.

I also see lawyers adding clients on Facebook that shouldn’t know about one another, which could constitute enough of a breach of confidentiality to risk the lawyer’s career. On the other hand, I see a brand new, massive opportunity for professionals to market themselves online. The trick is to remove the unprofessional things from your online identity, and to be meticulously aware of how you present yourself.

LinkedIn recommends that you work to build your own brand online. This has never been more true than today. Bloggers and YouTubers have become quasi-celebrities virtually overnight. I’m personally good friends with the “bridezilla” girls, whose YouTube hoax landed them spots on Good Morning America and a few big late night shows.

Once you have people’s eyes and ears, the potential for business and to help your career is massive, and there are tons of places online to make yourself known. To the authors of the LinkedIn article, this means using their site. Perhaps it’s a good place to start.

LinkedIn recommends that you be at the forefront of people’s minds. With people glued to the internet these days, it’s a great time to remind them that you’re the person who does what you do. It’s important to add old friends and acquaintances, and to broaden your network of people who know who you are, so in time they can know that you’re the #1 person for you line of work. If people see you as someone who is well connected with something impressive or important to say, it could work wonders for your career in the long run.

The article suggests that you make smarter decisions. Essentially they mean to draw off of the knowledge that you can get from others online, as opposed to trying to appear to be the expert. There’s a fine balance between seeming like you know what you’re doing, and seeming like you’ll pretend in any case.Learn from the people around you, act humbly, and don’t let stupid arguments end relationships. Re-read your e-mails 3 times before you send them, and stay away from MSN for very highly charged discussions.

LinkedIn says that you should prioritize your time. That means you should use their services to research the professionals you work with so you’re fully prepared when you meet with them. This is indeed quite true. When working on projects in general it is very important to know who is championing your project in the background. Who the potential benefactors are and generally who who have to woo in the process?

Keep in mind people will also research you. That’s why it’s all the more important to vigilantly filter what makes it into your online identity.Lastly LinkedIn suggests that you stay on top of your industry. It’s true. Changes are happening very quickly, and the group of people in the know is generally small but accessible. A ton of people are talking about Facebook apps and development, yet the forums are relatively silent.

Get into forums and discussions related to your line of business, keep yourself caught up, and make yourself known to the others! It will pay dividends in the long run, I promise. When I do business with a new person who I meet online, which is happening more and more, the first thing I do is check out their profile on LinkedIn and other networking sites to see who they know, how connected they are, etc.

Keep this in mind, realize that people are checking up on you, and give them something to look at that will make them want to work with you. Show them you’re connected, show them you’re intelligent, show them what you do. Just take my advice and be careful: many things online can’t be taken back once sent, and people may have the ability to post things on your profile that you wouldn’t want people seeing.

-Jonathan Kleiman